I couldn’t sleep until around 4 am on the 26 th of March, which was quite normal to me. Then I was already conscious before 8 am, but could not move due to sleep paralysis. The reason for consciousness was palpitating severe headache.
My usual approach to headache is to ignore first, and hope it would pass soon. If it doesn’t happen for a while, then take some paracetamol, and wait until it passes. If it doesn’t happen either, the only option I left is to continue hope and wait until it pass.
My body and strong medicine do not go well. Therefore, I do not look for strong pain killer. Although it is not the best solution for pain, in my opinion, it would be the best possible solution in I look at the bigger picture.
I just took longer lasting paracetamol before I fell asleep because I was trying to control the mystery virus I couldn’t get rid of for quite some time. So I couldn’t take anymore paracetamol for another few hours. So I was half trying to ignore the severe pounding pain, and hoping this shall pass sooner than later.
Instead of my hope, the pain got even more intense and I was getting waves of nausea on top of the pain. My body was finally woken up and I could move a little, but there was not much I could do for the migraine.
My head and face were burning up, so I grabbed an ice pack and wrap it with wet towel and tried to cool my head. Waves of chill and hot flash also came in turn. The severity of pounding pain kept getting more intense, and my whole head was exploding with sever pain. The wave of nausea was also getting intense. My sinus had blocked as well, which doesn’t happen to me often, and I could not breathe from my nose. I was taking deep and slow breath and that was the only way I could breaths. I should have taken asthma reliever puff, but my body didn’t have strength to grab it. I was little hesitant as well as asthma medicine gives me allergic reaction time to time.
I thought of people with brain tumour and told myself this would be the kind of pain they experience. And I should be lucky that I don’t experience this much pain regularly.
I heard migraine was different from tension headache and it comes with nausea. I was careful not to say I have migraine, instead I have severe palpitating tension headache. However, after this ordeal, I declare I have severe migraine and know how it feels like. I was also thinking how come people who talks about their migraine ordeal could stay calm talking about it. This is a massive traumatising experience, and if I had to tell someone my migraine experience, I would be screaming about it.
I could not keep my eyes open. The pouncing pain made me visualise inside of my brain actually exploding with the pain like a bomb. I felt this pain actually could damage my brain. Then, thought about the MRI I’m supposed to have in May. Would it show that I suffered this ordeal? Wave of nausea also came with parathesia. I was verbally moaning and crying loud with the pain, and I knew nobody would hear me or come to rescue me.
Then heavy tingling and numbness s with wave of cold and warm sensation started crawling to my left arm, my whole legs, my abdomen and stomach. Then it was very slowly crawling towards my lungs and heart. I said “heavy” because it really felt like some heavy weight were placed on top of me and I could not move anymore. I was paralysed. I felt the same sensation as if I was about to have diarrhoea from acute virus attack. Thank God, it didn’t progress as I could not carry myself to toilet in time. And I was wondering if this weird parathesia reaches to my heart, would it also paralyse my heart. Then I saw a vision of my dead body lying there just like I was at the moment. I had my dogs at my sides just like they were. And nobody knew I had been dead for a while.
Suddenly, overwhelming fear hit me. But I didn’t know or think what I should or could do. I felt I was dying from migraine. That fear made me cry more. I didn’t know what to do, but I wanted someone to be with me. My only able right arm reached out to my laptop and typed a short email to my friend M. “Severe migraine does not stop. Nothing works. Am paralysed. Don’t know what to do.” That was all I could, then my body fell into complete paralysis. She would send me email response in couple of days. And after a several attempts without my response, she would raise alarm to authority…
My mobile phone rang. I knew it was M, but I couldn’t answer it. Then I realised how stupid I was to send the email. It only made her worry about me. I knew there was nothing she could do for me, and I just made her feel guilty of not helping me. I also heard email arrived. And I was screaming at myself, “Damn Rachel!!! You are so stupid!!!”
After a while, my body regained little movements. So I checked voice mail and email. She had given me the advises that I was already trying and not working, such as ice pack and lie in a dark room and take pain killer. I wanted her to understand the situation I was going through did not seem typical migraine and I wouldn’t have sent the email if it wasn’t. However, I didn’t have enough strength to type it anyway. I was just too scared and very confused as well.
Then, she emailed me to call an ambulance. This idea scared me even more. I didn’t know what to do with my dogs who were just stuck at by my sides and trying to calm me down. Although I regained some movement, I was still too weak to go to the door. And the migraine attack had made my body even more fatigued and weak.
Then I heard the phone ring again. I put all my strength to pick up the phone because I wanted to apologise to M and ask her not to worry because this shall pass again. Instead, I cried and was repeating “I’m scared.” She told me to call an ambulance and that was what the receptionist of my medical centre advised her, but I told her I couldn’t. I felt that my mind was not in normal status. I often get anxious or fearful about things; it was different from my normal anxious or fearful. I don’t know how to explain. I knew how to call an ambulance. But I was too scared and didn’t know how to deal with the situation. Everything seemed too much for me to act on. And I just wanted the pain to stop. The pain must be destroying any common sense left in me. The fear was intense as well and I needed someone to be with me. I knew I was being hopeless to her. I apologised and begged not to worry about me. (Year, I know. Who would not worry about me when I was crying and mumbling I was scared?) It was impossible for her to help me because I didn’t know what I needed. Her reception phone rang. She had to answer it. She had to do her job.
I felt I was such a trouble maker. I wouldn’t appreciate if my friend rings me at work and tells me she is in trouble but doesn’t know what she needs. I knew in my mind that I was doing ridiculous thing to her. But at the same time, I just couldn’t control the fear and confusion.
It was after midday. I was still in massive pain and was still very confused. Heavy parathesia was still there and I was still half paralysed. However, the severity of migraine started to show the signs that it passed its peak.
Then, my phone rang again. It was M and she told me that she was coming and would take me to Dr TL as he happened to be on duty. Now I was getting massive guilt attack on top of migraine attack. I could not make her to come; especially now that the peak of the migraine attack may have gone. I was very selfish. I begged her not to come. She asked me few questions and my answer didn’t make sense as I was still very confused. I was still refusing to face ambulance because I was just too scared. She may have been little annoyed by me and told me that she was coming anyway as she just couldn’t sit there and do nothing.
By the time she showed up at my door, parathesia had eased up. Although I was exhausted and very weak, I managed to have a quick cold shower as I knew I was smelly from not having shower for few days.
She made me stop apologising. While I was sipping the nice cup of tea she made, she phoned the medical centre and advised them that I was coming now. She helped me to walk to her car. I realised how weak I was and I could not get to the medical centre alone even it is only less than 5 minutes easy drive.
As soon as we get there, Dr TL saw me. He was more concerned about something else than the shocking migraine attack. He examined me for the possible damages could be caused by heart attack or stroke.
After the thorough examination, he was satisfied that I didn’t have any brain or neurological damage from the ordeal. Sensing the guilt and embarrassment that I was feeling, he told me that I did the right thing (for drawing attention to my friend). At the same time, he assured me I would be okay as I was still very scared. He explained that he had seen worse, and was happy that I didn’t have any awful damages from the ordeal.
The receptionist told me to “call an ambulance, next time!” She also gave me a phone number for afterhours/house call doctors. Or, I could come and see Dr TL as he is now practising at the medical centre on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
M raised a question to the receptionist, “What can she do if she cannot leave her bed to let ambulance people in?” Good question. If I could do that, I wouldn’t classify it as an emergency and I wouldn’t call ambulance at the first place. Then, she gave me an odd look and told her, “Then, call police.” This suggestion scared me even more. Was she suggesting that police would break my front door to let ambulance people in? I wouldn’t be able to feel safe with broken front door in this area, and it is not easy for a bed ridden severe MEite to organise repairing the damage. I would be much better of just keep lying in the bed without calling an ambulance and face all the hassles.
I shouldn’t die from “sever ME”. If it gets to “very sever ME”, it would be a different story. But honestly, does it matter if I live or die? I cannot answer the question. But I know I don’t want to die yet.
I know there is only one option I would choose; to come and see Dr TL. I still haven’t got over negative past experiences with doctors and medical practitioners. At the moment, the only doctor I can trust and be comfortable with is Dr TL. This 100% trust didn’t happen overnight. He knows what I had to go through with previous doctors and he is sensitive about it. He showed consistent attitude, actions without hesitation and repeating encouragements to convince me he is different from the others.
And I don’t know how to thank M for her kindness and action. I really don’t know why I was in complete mess and so confused. Recently, I have been feeling that I have become her burden than her friend. Since Dr TL and M talked if she had my spare key, I offered her to give a set to her. But she didn’t want to have it. I know it very well I shouldn’t expect my long distance friend to come whenever I’m scared. I know you guys are going to tell me otherwise. I could say it is just my depression talking. I know she will stay as my good friend no matter what. But I am looking at imputable realities and being convinced more and more that it is not fair that she is the only one who has to drive the long distance to keep our friendship. She works full time, she has her own problems, she has her family problems, she is busy and she is tired and so on.
She wanted me to stay on the Gold Coast, so that it would be easy for her to visit me. But I couldn’t afford accommodation on the Gold Coast. Then, we both believed that I was going to be looked after by Blue Care so that she didn’t need to worry about me. As you know, this plan ended up huge disappointment. At the moment, she has no choice but act like my care taker when emergency occurs. This wasn’t my plan at all. This certainly wasn’t her plan, either. And I hate to put her in such tricky situation.
Actually she just visited me on the Saturday before the ordeal. (It is another reason why I felt guilty about making her come.) She had been postponing the plan of visiting me. Since I had dragged her into helping me with all the errands when she visited me last time, I was determined not to let her do my duties, but just enjoy coffee and chat together. It was an awkward get together and somehow I felt the Saturday was going to be her last visit. Please don’t take me wrong. I wouldn’t get upset if it was the case. I do not doubt her friendship. And I still strongly feel that she is a wonderful and compassionate person. But circumstance has changed and we live far away from each other now. It is a natural thing to happen.
I really need to find some friends in this area and make her feel less guilty of not helping me. You and I know that she is helping me more than enough and she doesn’t need to feel guilty about anything.
At the same time, you and I know it is almost impossible for a bed ridden severely ill person to go out and find a friend. These days, people are just too busy with their own lives and even charity organisations are having difficult time finding volunteers to keep their community support program.
Well, I stop list of negative reality check here.
I am lucky. I have a committed and caring doctor. I can still hope that my condition will improve some degree. Thanks to the DSP, I still have peaceful place to live with my beloved dogs. Thanks to the DSP, I am still surviving. I have good online friends who understand and cheer me without any harsh advice or judgement. So, not everything is too bad.
Going back to the migraine attack… I think it is fair to say that I was having Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or mini stroke. I hope it won’t happen again. But if it happens again, at least I know what it is and what I need to do. And I also have a strong pain killer handy if it ever happened again. So, all will be okay.
Dr TL gave me an interesting medical article. I thought it was about migraine, but it was actually a theory about my cardiac and neurological symptoms. So I will talk about it at next post.